Sikh and Indo-Calgarians react to Canada’s allegations against Indian government

Click to play video: 'Sikh Calgarians say Canada-India relations ‘sour’ after murder accusations'
Sikh Calgarians say Canada-India relations ‘sour’ after murder accusations
WATCH: Sikh and Indo-Calgarians are reacting to the deteriorating situation between Canada and India. As Craig Momney reports, tensions are running high and the Calgary community is feeling it. – Sep 20, 2023

A Calgary radio news director is expressing his disbelief after the prime minister made some concerning accusations earlier this week.

Rishi Nagar with RED FM Calgary says it was “surprising” after Justin Trudeau sent shockwaves throughout Parliament with “credible allegations” linking agents of India’s government with the murder of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, B.C., this past June.

“It was shocking news, not good or bad,” says Nagar.

“But we felt, the community felt relieved at least we could know who the culprit was or who the culprit can be.”

The India government has since denied these allegations, but it’s caused a rift and heightened tensions between the two countries.

On Monday, Canada expelled a senior Indian diplomat while subsequently India would expel a Canadian envoy. Then on Wednesday, India’s foreign ministry issued a travel advisory stating a growing number of anti-India activities in Canada.

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“Things are going down. The relationships between Canada and India are sour now,“ says Nagar.

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Dr. Harjeet Singh Grewal, a Sikh studies professor with the Department of Classics and Religion at the University of Calgary, says he too was surprised by the announcement.

“We have to keep in mind that these are strong allegations and that they’re following a legal process and there’s an investigation ongoing,” says Dr. Grewal.

“This is a serious concern for the sovereignty of Canada and all Canadian citizens should be worried about this. This is an affront on Canadian sovereignty as per international laws and UN conventions.”

According to Dr. Grewal, there’s been a longstanding issue for decades involving an alleged history of foreign interference by the India government that has followed the Sikh community in Canada, making them feel unsafe in the country.

He says while CSIS and the RCMP have reported on these instances, he feels the Canadian government has been “aloof to this up to this point.”

“Unfortunately, it’s taken the loss of Hardeep Singh Nijjar to prompt any Canadian government to bring these issues forward,” he says.

“So I think that we are in unprecedented waters here in terms of potentiality of international crime.”

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— with files from Global News’ David Baxter

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